Post-Workout Nutrition

I can’t believe I waited so long to write this post! Back in March, I shared with you the importance of Pre-Workout Nutrition. Today, I am going to go over some things you should keep in mind when considering when & what to eat to refuel your body after your workout.

When?
As with most fitness topics, depending on which health guru you talk to you will get varying answers as to when to consume your post workout “meal”. The general consensus I have found in all my magazine reading & Googling is that the ideal time or “window of opportunity” is within 30-45 minutes of completing your workout. However, newer studies are showing that the window is a little wider, around 2 hours pre/post workout, and that your daily intake of Carbs and Protein is more important than timing itself.

I’m confused…
The bottom line is everyone is different. Our bodies all react differently to exercise & nutrition. This means unless you are a super athlete or a bodybuilder preparing for a competition the guidelines are a little more lax. So figure out what works best for you! I usually base my post workout “meal” on my schedule. If I know I am driving straight home after the gym to fix dinner, I usually don’t worry about packing anything to “eat” post workout. However, if the Hubby & I are heading to the store after our workout  I will pack a shake or something to munch on before running errands.

What to “Eat”
If you have noticed, I have been sort of loose with the terms “eat” & “meal”. This is because you don’t have to eat to ingest nutrients. Protein shakes or smoothies are considered meals in my house and if that is the easiest way for you to re-fuel, go for it! However, there are a few key ingredients (macros) you will need to contemplate.

Refuel
The first is Carbohydrates, they are needed to replace energy stores in your body that have been depleted due to your awesomeness that has just been expressed in the form of exercise. (Yuh like that, Huh?) How many Carbs you need will depend on they type of exercise you did & what your goals are, however a good rule of thumb is around 30% of your daily Carb intake. It is also a good idea to get in a mix of both simple (fast absorbing) & complex (slow absorbing) Carbs.

Build
Secondly, your body needs Protein to build & repair muscles. Luckily the guidelines for Protein are a little more specific, but again, every body is different. Men should consume between 30-45 grams of Protein, While us Ladies need between 20-25 grams.

Smarter Not Harder
Finally, you should limit your Fat intake following a workout. The main reason it is suggest to make your post workout meal Fat Free is because fat slows the digestion process. Slow digestion means slow absorption, meaning it will take longer for Carbs & Protein to be available for your body to use. So while it is important to make sure you are including Healthy Fats in your diet, try to fit them in with your other meals to make sure your body has its best chance to refuel & recover.

One of my favorite combos is a Whey Protein Shake & Banana.
What are some of your favorite post workout “meals”?

Disclaimer: In case you missed it along the way, at the moment, the information I have compiled for you is simply the product of research & personal experience. Though I plan to get a Nutrition Certification & ultimately become a Kick Bottom Health/Wellness Coach… At the moment I have no such training.  So make sure if you are planning on changing your diet/exercise routine that you talk to a professional to make sure you are doing what is best for your particular body.

References:
www.bodybuilding.com
www.precisionnutrition.com – LOVE this article! You should read it.
www.muscleandfitness.com
www.flexonline.com

Balsamic Roasted Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)

 

I call them Chickpeas because I think it sounds cuter… but whether you know them as Chickpeas or Garbanzo Beans they are nutrient rich & have a wide range of healthy benefits. In addition to being high in Fiber & a great source of vegetarian protein they are also a low glycemic food which helps promote weight loss by controlling your appetite.

This week I made Oven Roasted Chickpeas as part of my afternoon snacks & I wanted to share with you how easy they are to make. What I love about chickpeas is that they have a relatively neutral, almost nutty, flavor that goes well with all kinds of ingredients. It is super rare that I use the same seasonings twice in a row so this recipe is the base to most of my creations & can easily be tweak it to fit your taste.

[Attn: You will have to let the Chickpeas marinade for at least 2 hours so either plan to start these early or, like me, you can mix them up & let them sit in the fridge overnight.]

 

For this recipe you will need the following ingredients:

  • 2 Cans of Chickpeas (I used low-sodium)
  • ¼ Cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

You can also add ½ tsp of one or more of the following: Garlic Powder, Italian Seasoning, Dill Weed, Rosemary, or just about anything else.

Other things that will be helpful:

Instructions:

  1. Drain & rinse canned Chickpeas
  2. In a Medium bowl, mix rinsed Chickpeas with Balsamic Vinegar
  3. Cover & refrigerate for 2-8 hours
  4. Pre-heat Oven to 375 degrees F
  5. (also make sure your rack is placed in the middle of your oven)
  6. Cover a sheet pan with Aluminum Foil & spritz with Cooking Spray
  7. Drain the excess Balsamic Vinegar from the Chickpeas, then mix in olive oil & any seasonings you choose to add.
  8. Spread the Chickpeas in a single layer on your sheet pan, then sprinkle with salt & pepper. (I use fresh ground sea salt & pepper)
  9. Bake the Chickpeas for 25-30 minutes, making sure you “stir” them every 10-15 minutes so they brown evenly.
  10. Once they are cooked to your liking, remove them from the oven & allow them to cool slightly before serving.

This recipe makes 5-6, 2 oz. servings which is how I packaged them for my snacks. You can also make these using dried chickpeas prepared according to the package… about 3 Cups prepared should be a similar substitute for the canned beans.

There are so many different ways to make Baked Chickpeas so if you have tried a different recipe that you absolutely love, please share it with us in the comments below!

Follow me on Instagram: @_Fit2BeQueen_

Setting Goals

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Alright Ladies (& Gentlemen) it is Sunday yet again! Since everyone knows you can only start a new meal plan or exercise routine on Mondays (that is baloney, quit stalling, START NOW!) I figured today was a perfect day to plan for the week ahead. We are only a couple weeks into May and Spring is in full bloom, however, before we know it Summer will be creeping in…
The season of shorts, sleeveless shirts, & yes bathing suites. So before time gets away from us lets set some goals and show them what we are made of!

Why Set Goals?
Because that is what successful people do. Goal-setting is used by top athletes, successful business people and just about everyone else who is amazing at what they do. When you set a goal it helps you envision your future & motivates you to stay on track. By setting goals you are able to focus your time & attention on being your best. Also, as you reach goals you have set for yourself it will give you a greater sense of accomplishment & confidence.

Can You Give Me Some Examples?
Sure! As I mentioned earlier, goals work for a variety of people in different fields. You can set goals as a Mother, as a Friend, as Spouse or Employee… but of course, I would like to talk about health & fitness goals. Your goals can range from simple to long term depending on what you choose to accomplish. For instance…

>> Drinking your daily recommended amount of water.
>> Eating more raw vegetables.
>> Eating less sugar.
>> Working out 5 days a week.
>> Losing 50 pounds of body fat.
>> Being able to bench press your body weight.
>> Running a 5k.

Ok, I Have a Goal, Now What?
Now it is brainstorming & research time. What will it take to reach your goal? If you have settled on a larger or long term goal, split it up into smaller ones, this will make it easier for you to see your progress & stay on track. For example if your goal is to lose 50 pounds, set 5 and 10 pound goals along the way. Decide when and how you will track your progress. Every day, once a week… will you use a chart or app to keep you organized? Give yourself some deadlines to help keep you motivated & lastly, make sure you have a planned reward that fits the goal & does not undo hard work. For instance maybe new clothes when you reach your goal weight as opposed to treating yourself with a chocolate cake.

My current goal is to reach a healthy weight. I am proud to say that so far I have lost 38 pounds! The main things that I am focusing on to reach my goal weight are eating healthy, drinking plenty of water, getting enough sleep, and exercising. This past week my co-workers and I started a weight loss challenge to encourage each other to get healthier. Below are two of the charts I am using to measure my progress during the challenge in case they might help you too.

(Click to Print) Body Measurment Chart

(Click to Print) 8 Week Progress Worksheet 


      

Ok, Your Turn…

Leave A Comment Below:
What are your goals and what are you doing to reach them?

(P.S. Happy Mother’s Day to all you fantastic Mommies!)

AmiN.O. Energy – Pre-Workout Supplement Review

There are people on both sides of the supplement fence, those who say they would not be where they are without them and those who prefer to go natural all the way. I can see the merit in both sides of the argument. Personally, I like taking supplements because it helps give me that extra push that I don’t get from my diet. I always make sure to research the supplements I take and I feel like Optimum Nutrition’s AmiN.O. Energy is an excellent low key energy booster that will help get you to your goals.

Low Cost
I am always looking for ways to save, so I usually buy this supplement when it is on sale. Generally, this product ranges from $0.60 – $0.70 per serving.

Flavor & Texture
Optimum Nutrition offers 7 lovely flavors: Blue Raspberry, Fruit Fusion, Grape, Green Apple, Lemon Lime, Orange, & Watermelon. By far the Blue Raspberry is my favorite! I have tried a few of the other flavors and they are good but I always come back to Blue Raspberry. I generally mix 2 scoops in 8-10 oz of water in my blender bottle and it dissolves perfectly, no grit. I think most of the flavors are pleasant, no chemical aftertaste, and actually kind of remind me of Kool-Aid.

Energy

  • 1 Serving (2 scoops) is about as much energy as a cup of coffee.

  • You can adjust the amount of Pep you get by changing the # of scoops.

  • In addition to pre-workout energy it is mild enough to be used in place of other energy supplements such as coffee or energy drinks.

  • Not a crazy pump like some supplements, just steady energy. I have never gotten jittery or hot like with some other pre-workouts I have tried.

Recovery
Perhaps you have heard it before, but Amino Acids are the building blocks of protein. Our bodies require 20 amino acids to run properly. Essential Amino Acids are the 10 that our bodies can not create on their own. AmiN.O. Energy includes 9 of 10 Essential Amino Acids including the Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) which are the most important for muscle recovery.

Nutrition Facts
Lastly, AmiN.O. Energy has only 10 Calories, 2 Carbohydrates and no Sugar!

Do you use pre-workout supplements? If yes, what do you use? If no, why not?

Get your Rear in Gear!

Whether you  like the gym or prefer the comfort of your own home, these are four exercise moves you can do to get your back side on track. I have recently added a couple of these moves to my routine and I am so excited to share them with you!

First, a quick anatomy lesson. In case you are unaware, your rear is made up of three main muscles: The Gluteus Maximus, Gluteus Medius, & Gluteus Minimus. To get the best shape it is important to work all three muscles. Here are some pictures I found showing you where they are & what they look like.

Now that you know what you are working with…

Here are four moves to get them in top shape.

1. Butt Lift (Glute Bridge)

A-MA-ZING! If you are not already doing these, you should be. Word of advice, if you are new to doing glute bridges take it easy… the first time I tried them I was a little over zealous and needles to say could not walk for two days. So start slow, but definitely do them!

  • Lie flat on your back with your hands at your side and your knees bent.
  • Your feet should be shoulder width apart. (this is your starting position)
  • Pushing mainly through your heels, Squeeze your glutes to lift your hips off the floor while keeping your back straight. (breath out as you lift)
  • Slowly lower back to your starting position (breathe in)
  • Repeat! (8-12 reps, 3-4 sets and work up from there)

Variations: One leg out at a time or Swaying Bridge

Click Here To See Video

2. Plie Dumbell Squat

Love these! Can’t get enough! You can do this one with or without weight.

  • Hold a weight (dumbbell/kettlebell/gallon of water/small child) in front of you and stand straight up.
  • Place your legs wider than shoulder width apart and bend your knees just a bit.
  • Also, make sure your toes are pointing outward… you are now in the starting position!
  • Slowly bend your knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor. (breathe in & watch your knees)
  • Push through your heel and squeeze your glutes to bring you back to the starting position (breath out & maintain a tall posture)
  • Repeat! (Depending on how heavy your weight is I would do 8-12 reps for 3-4 sets)

Important: To protect your knees and back, make sure your knees do not extend past your toes and keep your back straight through out the motion.

Click Here To See Video

3. Glute Kickback

These are great not only for your glutes but for strengthening your lower back!

  • Using a mat if you have one, get down on all fours, keeping your back straight (this will be your starting position)
  • Breath out and lift your right leg by contract your glutes. Make sure to keep your back straight.
  • Hold at the top for a second before slowly releasing back to your starting position (breath in)
  • Repeat! (8-12 reps with each leg for 3-4 sets and work up from there)

Variation: Can be done with leg weights or a dumbbell behind the knee for added resistance.

Click Here To See Video

 4. Barbell Hip Thrust

This is a newer move for me. As will tall these exercises they can be modified and done either at the gym or at home. I do these on the edge of my bed if I am working out at home.

  • Begin sitting on / hovering over the floor with a bench (or bed) directly behind you.
  • If you are at the gym, use a loaded barbell over your legs (may want to use a pad or a fatter bar for comfort).
  • If you are at home, you can use any kind of weight… a medicine ball / dumbbells / or again a small child.
  • Make sure to place the weight directly above your hips, and lean back against the bench / bed so your shoulder blades are near the top of it.
  • Pushing through your feet and again squeezing your glutes, extending your hips vertically through the weight.
  • Your body should be supported by your shoulder blades and feet.
  • Extend as far as possible, then reverse the motion to return to your starting position.
  • Repeat! (Again, depending on how heavy your weight is I would do 8-12 reps for 3-4 sets)

Click Here To See Video

Hope you will add a couple of these moves to your next glute workout.

If you have a favorite that is not listed here, please share it in the comments below!

Bananas On A Budget

Healthy food can be expensive, but there are clever ways to stretch your dollars. One of my favorite strategies is to buy food that is on sale & freeze it for later! Some of my favorites are Chicken, Ground Turkey, Avocado, Eggs, & Bananas.

Today I am going to show you how to freeze cheap, perfectly ripe bananas. 

First, find a grocery store in your area that reduces the price of their bananas when they get really ripe. In my area, Ingles or Food City are two stores I can usually count on.
This trip I even managed to find some organic bananas that had had been put on sale!

Once you get them home, peel the bananas and break them into pieces. I usually break them in half because that’s how I use them in my smoothie recipes. Trust me, it is easier to break them up now than when they are frozen.

Then, place the banana pieces into a quart size freezer bag. I usually only fill the bags about half way up because I don’t use them all at once. This limits freezer burn from opening & closing the bag repeatedly over time.

Last, I would advise putting the date you stored your bananas on the bags so you can keep track of how long they have been in the freezer. If untouched, I’m sure the bananas would stay good for 6 months or more, but they honestly never last that long in my house.  Just remember, If you aren’t using the whole bag at once, try to get as much air as possible out and reseal it well after each use.

Not sure how to use your newly frozen bananas? Check out my Strawberry Banana Protein Smoothie Recipe for some inspiration!

Strawberry Banana Protein Smoothie

Today’s post is less a recipe and more a snapshot of my meal plan. It is a quick smoothie I have been using for my first and second meals this week. If you need an easy way to get your morning protein, smoothies are a great option!

Ingredients:
2 Cups Water
1 Cup Frozen Strawberries
½ Frozen Banana
2 Scoops Vanilla Whey Protein Powder
1 Tbsp Chia Seeds

Directions:
>> Place all ingredients (except chia seeds) in the blender.
>> Blend until desired consistency.
>> Mix in Chia Seeds.
>> Drink & Enjoy!

Tip1: To save time in the mornings, I went ahead and measured out my fruit for the week.

Tip2: I split my smoothie into 2 blender bottles, that way I can mix them up again later.

I used Bob’s Red Mill Chia Seeds, Cellucor Whipped Vanilla Protein Powder, and Season’s Choice Sliced Frozen Strawberries. I split the smoothie in to two servings to cover my first and second meals for the day. Each serving is (403)Calories, (8g)Fat, (39g)Carbs, & (55g)Protein. 

If you like smoothies, what are some of your favorite ingredients?